New garbage technology eyed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Selma could be one of the first cities to receive some of the newest technology in garbage.

The Central Alabama Solid Waste Disposal Authority met with representatives of six counties and 15 different municipalities Tuesday morning at the St. James Hotel.

The meeting’s purpose was to discuss the latest methods of dealing with garbage &045;&045; a facility that doesn’t just dispose of trash, but processes it into a product that can be used again.

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Michael H. Eley, president and CEO of Bio-Products International and a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, explained the idea through a video.

Municipal solid waste, or MSW, would be brought to the facility and dumped onto the tipping floor. From there, trash would be put into processing vessels.

The vessels are “glorified autoclaves,” said Larry D. Friday, director of the Selma-Dallas County Environmental Services and Vector Control.

Friday used the word “autoclave” because after the processing vessels are through with the trash it’ll be completely sterilized through the use of steam and pressure.

Once the process is complete, the trash would be moved along a conveyor belt while magnets separated aluminum and steel products.

Eley said that 85 percent of waste that goes through the vessels could be turned into usable products.

John Lewis, a representative of Fulghum Industries, the company that would design and operate the plant, which will be located in the Maplesville area, said that 18 months after the plant’s start date he hoped only 1 percent of processed waste would be unuseable.

Lewis added that each vessel would be able to handle 250 tons of garbage a day and that each load would take about 130 minutes from start to finish.

The proposed plant would have two processing vessels.

Robin Curtis, a marketer with J2PCH, said that the processed waste can be used for items such as paper, fuel pellets and drilling fuel additives in addition to a number of other uses.

“There is not going to be a problem in disposing of the cellulose,” Curtis said.

The problem of what to do with its garbage has been with the Dallas County area for a number of years.

Friday said the authority began looking at landfills around 1993 as a method of dealing with garbage collection. However, he said that they weren’t able to make that happen.

Four years ago, Friday added, the authority was approached by the Southeastern Ecological and Energy Services group that offered an incinerator as a method of waste disposal.

During the process of getting an incinerator for the authority, Friday said that the new technology became available.

Charles Moseley of SEES said that the new facility will cost about $2 million less than the proposed incinerator.

Friday added that the only cost involved for building the plant will be the tipping fee. The fee for Selma, he said, will decrease from $36.29 per ton of waste to $27.

Friday also said use of the facility would not be restricted to only those who are involved in the project currently.

“Our arms are open wide and welcome,” Friday said.

Moseley said that financing for the project should be available in April and added that the plant should be operational by January or February of next year.

“We want this thing on the fast track,” Moseley said.